IndyCar, Texas Motor Speedway reach new four-year agreement

IndyCar
0 Comments

IndyCar officials on Thursday morning announced a new four-year agreement with Texas Motor Speedway to continue racing at the 1.5-mile superspeedway through 2022.

“IndyCar is pleased to continue its long relationship with Texas Motor Speedway, a partnership that stretches to 1997,” Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a statement. “This oval track annually produces some of the most exciting racing of the season, contributes to the diversity of the schedule and helps us continue the oval heritage of Indy car racing.

“It’s good to know that Texas will remain a mainstay of the Verizon IndyCar Series for years to come.”

The first race of the new agreement – the DXC Technology 600 – will be a Saturday night event on June 8, 2019.

“Texas Motor Speedway is the second home of Indy car racing, and we are thrilled to extend our partnership with the Verizon IndyCar Series and with DXC Technology,” Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said in a statement. “We are pleased to have negotiated a sanction agreement that allows Texas Motor Speedway to move forward with IndyCar.

“Our company has invested significant dollars into the sport and a tremendous amount of effort growing the sport through the years.”

TMS has played host to 30 Indy car events since 1997, including two races per year from 1998 to 2004 and a same-day doubleheader in 2011.

Only the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (102 races), the street course in Long Beach, California (35 races) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (34 races) have held more IndyCar races than TMS.

“So many great moments in this sport have occurred at Texas Motor Speedway,” Gossage said. “This is and always will be ‘America’s original nighttime Indy car race.’ Photo finishes and victory lane drama have been the standard over the years.

“No other track has seen as many Verizon IndyCar Series races over the last two-plus decades. Texas Motor Speedway has been good for Indy car racing and Indy car racing has been good for Texas Motor Speedway.”

Scott Dixon won the most recent race there this past June.

IndyCar is expected to announce the full 2019 schedule in September.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
4 Comments

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”